United v RB Leipzig: Your essential guide
Manchester United take on RB Leipzig in the Champions League this Wednesday, in what is the first-ever meeting between the two sides.
The Germans, coached by the highly rated Julian Nagelsmann, made it to the semi-finals of the competition last year and, like United, got off to a winning start in this season’s edition - beating Istanbul Basaksehir 2-0 in Leipzig last week.
As Europe’s top-tier tournament returns to Old Trafford, our match preview tells you all you need to know…
Kick-off in Manchester takes place at 20:00 GMT and fans in the UK can watch the match live on BT Sport. Supporters can also follow our rolling updates on ManUtd.com and within our Official App, while MUTV will provide live build-up, radio commentary and reaction from 18:55 GMT. We’ll then show the full 90 minutes from 00:00 GMT on Thursday.
The Red Bulls have started the 2020/21 season in fine form, winning four and drawing one of their opening five Bundesliga matches to seize the early initiative from Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, who are both a point further back. At the weekend, Leipzig came from a goal down at home to Hertha Berlin to win 2-1, with centre-back Dayot Upamecano netting the equaliser and Emil Forsberg converting a late winner from the spot. Four days previously, on-loan Manchester City full-back Angelino scored twice to see off Istanbul Basaksehir and give Leipzig an early lead in Group H.
Since the Bundesliga resumed May, Nagelsmann’s side have lost just twice in 18 matches in all competitions – the semi-final reverse to Paris Saint-Germain in August, plus a 2-0 defeat at Dortmund towards the end of the 2019/20 campaign, after a top-four spot had already been secured.
RB Leipzig defender Lukas Klostermann is set to miss out on Wednesday’s match, after undergoing keyhole surgery on his knee last week. The German international sustained the injury during the Bundesliga win over Augsburg earlier this month and hasn’t featured in either of the Red Bulls’ last two fixtures as a result, with no return date yet given. Midfielder Amadou Haidara is also a doubt, having tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the Istanbul Basaksehir match. Long-term absentees Tyler Adams and Konrad Laimer are also unavailable.
As far as United are concerned, Anthony Martial is free to play despite domestic suspension, while Eric Bailly and Jesse Lingard are expected to remain on the sidelines. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will provide further updates in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
ONES TO WATCH
Leipzig lost their outstanding talent over the summer, with 34-goal, top scorer Timo Werner joining Chelsea, who we drew 0-0 with at the weekend. However, unlike many of the other premier sides in the Champions League, the Red Bulls are more about the collective than supreme individuals, with their scouting network and partnerships with clubs such as RB Salzburg enabling them to attract some of the best young players, both from Europe and further afield.
Three of the current contingent were named in the 23-man Champions League Squad of the Season for 2019/20. Defenders Upamecano and Angelino, plus captain Marcel Sabitzer, who has been with the club since their days in the second division. Spanish playmaker Dani Olmo offers a goal threat from midfield, while Danish targetman Yussuf Poulsen is always a handful up front.
WHO’S THE MANAGER?
One of Europe’s most respected young coaches, Nagelsmann is only 33 - but, incredibly, the Bavarian is already in his sixth campaign as a top-flight manager. A former captain of 1860 Munich’s youth team, Nagelsmann’s playing career came to an end due to injury when he was just a teenager. He joined Hoffenheim in 2010, taking charge of the club’s various youth teams, before being promoted to assistant coach.
In February 2016, and with Hoffenheim battling against relegation, Nagelsmann became the Bundesliga’s youngest-ever head coach, at the age of just 28. Even more impressively, he guided 1899 to safety and, within two years, the club were playing Champions League football for the first time in their history. Nagelsmann, who likes his sides to play a fast, high-pressing style of football, succeeded the legendary Ralf Rangnick in the Leipzig hotseat in the summer of 2019 and continued his stellar rise, guiding the club – still only in its fourth season in the top-flight – to a third-place finish and the last four of the Champions League.
Referee: Slavko Vincic (SVN)
Assistants: Tomaz Klancnik (SVN) and Grega Kordez (SVN)
Fourth official: Asmir Sagrkovic (SVN)
VAR: Jose Maria Sanchez Martinez (ESP)
Assistant VAR: Matej Jug (SVN)
TUESDAY 27 OCTOBER
Lokomotiv Moscow v Bayern Munich (17:55 GMT)
Atletico Madrid v RB Salzburg
Shakhtar Donetsk v Internazionale (17:55 GMT)
Borussia Monchengladbach v Real Madrid
Porto v Olympiacos
Marseille v Manchester City
Atalanta v Ajax
Liverpool v FC Midtjylland
WEDNESDAY 28 OCTOBER
FK Krasnodar v Chelsea (17:55 GMT)
Sevilla v Rennes
Borussia Dortmund v Zenit St Petersburg
Club Brugge v Lazio
Ferencvaros v Dynamo Kiev
Juventus v Barcelona
Istanbul Basaksehir v Paris Saint Germain (17:55 GMT)
UNITED v RB Leipzig
All kick-offs 20:00 GMT unless stated otherwise.